Abstract: The Evolution of Cotton Textile Industry and Elite Family Business in Early Twentieth Century North Carolina

Changkeun Lee


In the cotton textile industry of early twentieth century North Carolina, family businesses played an important role in the state's rise to the largest producer state. They were unique in that they expanded their production capacity by opening new mills continuously. This was a good strategy because newer mills could use newer and better technology. Moreover, economies of scale were not an important factor in the cotton textile industry. They promptly adopted new technology, electrifying cotton mills, and actively managed sales channels because demand was one of the most important factors for performance in this industry. Doing so, they maintained competitiveness. They were more productive than other single-unit mills and as productive as new generation mills until 1926.